15 September 2011
The Liberal Democrats will put forward a motion to demand key reforms to Employment and Support Allowance at their annual party conference in Birmingham, which begins tomorrow.
It’s listed in the party conference agenda (p 16), published in August, to be put forward by George Potter, Liberal Youth, as follows:
i) That eligibility for the Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) benefit is determined by the Work Capability Assessments (WCAs) which are currently carried out by Atos Healthcare, a private company.
ii) That currently 70% of assessed rejections which go to appeal are subsequently overturned, though the appeal success rate is lower for claimants without representation.
iii) That the way in which WCAs are conducted has been criticised by Parliamentary Inquiries and by the Tribunal Judiciary.
iv) That the Liberal Democrat-Conservative Coalition Government has stated its aims to support people who are fit to work move off state benefits and into work and support those currently unable to work to prepare for work in the future.
v) The on-going reviews of Work Capability Assessments led by Professor Malcolm Harrington, which have made recommendations on how the WCA process can be improved.
vi) That the Government has so far implemented the vast majority of the recommendations made by Professor Malcolm Harrington.
vii) The Government’s Welfare Reform Bill proposals to simplify the appeals process for claimants.
Conference believes that:
A. It is the duty of a compassionate society and government to provide the necessary support for those who are unable to support themselves.
B. The old Assessment procedure, when claimants were assessed using a ‘tick box’ questionnaire, did not take into account the claimant’s medical history as provided by their GP and/or Consultant.
C. The new Assessment procedure must aim to reduce the number of cases which are overturned on appeal.
Have a look at our other news stories.